GOVERNOR Rauf Aregbesola of Osun over the weekend said the state’s remaining unpaid debt of N143.6 billion would be defrayed latest by the year 2019.
He also disclosed that all the conventional loans obtained by his administration would be settled in 2019, just as he assured that N11.4 billion Sukuk interest-free facility would be fully paid back in 2020.
But, Aregbesola, who made these disclosures while responding to questions from journalists during an interactive programme tagged “Ogbeni Till Daybreak” in Osogbo, the state capital said “the worker’s salary arrears would not be left unpaid. We are keeping records of the backlog of arrears. We are not deceiving or cheating them”.
Responding to enquiries on the total debt profile of Osun, the governor, however, directed Accountant General of the state, Mr Kolawole Akintayo to give the accurate and total amount the state was owing both locally and internationally.
Akintayo explained that the total remaining debt for the state to pay was estimated at N143.6bn, against the figures being bandied by members of the opposition in Osun State.
According to him, “total debt of Osun was N171.4bn in the last seven years. A sum of N28bn had been paid, leaving a balance of N143.6bn debt”.
While giving further details on the Accountant General submission, Aregbesola said that Osun will ensure payment of all the debts in 2019, contending that “there will be no kobo left of the N30bn conventional loan in 2019, by September 2020, N11.4bn Sukuk would have been settled”.
The governor described as outrageous claims by some people and groups about the debt profile of Osun State, pointing out that “the reason we borrowed was for infrastructural development and not for investment is simple. In a liberal economy like ours, the government has no business doing business, the responsibility of government is to provide enabling environment for businesses to thrive”.
Speaking on the payment of half salary, Aregbesola affirmed that the welfare of the workers was paramount to his government, just as he lauded the understanding of the workers, especially during the economic crises that hit the nation and affected the state.
He stated, “Osun PS earns a salary more than the deputy governor of the state. I don’t receive salary and I will not receive forever. We have a good plan for all the workers in the state. As we pay modulated salary to our workers, so we pay the political appointees. If the political appointees said I don’t give them money, it is true. We are in a state of economic emergency”.